- Jul 11, 2003
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/trumps-d-c-hotel-shows-as-poll-sink-so-does-his-brand.htmlIt’s now pretty clear that Donald Trump has been using his presidential campaign to promote his various business ventures. Remember when he touted his Turnberry, Scotland, golf course as a beneficiary of Great Britain’s exit from the European Union this summer? But if Trump hoped his campaign would elevate the value of his brand, it looks like just the opposite is happening.
Trump’s biggest disaster of the campaign — the revelations of a lewd tape in which he boasted about sexually accosting women — has led critics to throw more shade on his businesses. Fellow celebrity-billionaire Mark Cuban tweeted this on Friday night:
Every single @realDonaldTrump hotel and golf course is toast. Done. Over. Bernie Madoff now has a better brand.
He might not be wrong. Take Trump’s latest, most lavish venture: the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which has become a focal point for grievances against the unconventional Republican presidential candidate.
The 263-room five-star hotel in the historic Old Post Office building opened last month. But even with a prime location near the White House, swanky interiors, and aggressive promotion by the candidate himself, empty rooms have forced the hotel to reduce rates during a peak season. At the same time, the hotel has lost two planned restaurants, Hispanic employees are making claims of discrimination, and protesters are gearing up to do whatever they can to cause trouble for the hotel.
Some of the issues even predate Trump’s presidential campaign: When the government inked a 60-year, $200 million lease with Trump in 2012, rival hoteliers took the unusual step of warning Uncle Sam that the deal could turn into yet another Trump business failure.
Those warnings look increasingly prophetic. While the break-even rate on the hotel rooms is more than $750 a night, by some estimates last weekend rooms could be had for under $500 per night — at a time when rival hotels were sold out weeks ahead of time. In his bid to win the lease, Trump promised to offer luxurious suites to lure business execs and diplomats, but many of the international elite appear to be avoiding it.
Last weekend bankers and dignitaries from around the world descended on Washington for the annual World Bank–IMF meetings. But just a few days before, the conference rooms were not only still available at Trump International, they were heavily discounted. On October 2, a deluxe room, with a rack rate of $805, could be had for as low $445 a night onHotels.com. All other five-star D.C. downtown hotels were sold out. By Wednesday, October 5, weekend stays in the deluxe rooms were marked down to $404 per night on Trump International’s own website. The more luxurious 500-square-foot executive rooms, with a city view and marble bath, were only $484. By comparison, at the Waldorf-Astoria in Georgetown, the only available rooms were $1,139 per night, according to Hotels.com.